Sunday, 27 November 2016

Eruptions on Mount Popocatépetl.

The Mexican National Centre for Disaster Prevention has reported a series of  eruption on Mount Popocatépetl, a stratovolcano (cone shaped volcano made up of layers of ash and lava) in the central part of the country, starting on the morning of Friday 25 November 2016. Over 300 individual eruptions were recorded within 24 hours on 25-26 November, with a maximum ash column height of about 5 km observed, and ash falls reported at a number of locations in Puebla State.

Ash coloumn over Mount Popocatépetl slightly after 10.00 am on Friday 25 November 2016. SEGOB.

Major eruptions on Popocatépetl are a cause for concern as the volcano is in a densely populated area, with 30 million people living within the potential hazard zone. The last major eruption, a Plinian (or Vesuvian) event in about 800 AD, triggered a series of pyroclastic flows and lahars that scoured the basins around the volcano.

The location of Popocatépetl. Google Maps.

The volcanoes of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt (including Popocatépetl) are fuelled by the subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the North American Plate along the Middle American Trench to the south of Mexico. As the subducting plate sinks into the Earth it is melted by the heat and pressure, and volatile minerals liquefy and rise through the overlying North American Plate as magma, fuelling Mexico's volcanoes. 

 The subduction of the Cocos Plate beneath the North American Plate in Mexico, and how it leads to volcanoes and Earthquakes.

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